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What a night........

Tuesday 15th March 2005


(Vocals / Guitar)
(Vocals )
(Sax es )

This is a band that must be seen...

Master players exercising their craft.

RICHIE MILTON ©The Spitz, London. - 'Bluesique CD Launch Party.

Richie got the set underway with that old chestnut 'Soul Finger.' A few bars later the brass section comes in and your insides smile as the whole machine becomes motioned. And I'm pleasantly transported back to the days of the Blues Brothers and can recall the time when all the boring blokes down my pub who talked about nothing except cars and football were suddenly awoken by this real music. Now we have 'Stars in their eyes!' When you add brass to a group it becomes a band. 'Had No Lovin' follows, a pace shuffle number with no surprises that is the albums' opener. 'Nothing Can Stop Me' clipped guitar, brass section riffing, and a lazy feeling. A gentle hip swayer. 'Get Naked' Brass led rhythm about Adam and Eve. The title explains the rest of the song. Nice one Richie couldn't agree more! 'Grooving', with Paul Cox, guesting on vocals, and 'You Don't Shake It' follow. And then the big one; 'Bluesique' the title track is a sheer piece of genius, transforming you back to the 30's and 40's with some great scat harmonies from Richie and Linda Hall weaving their vocals 'snake- like' through the melody. A Fine piece of songwrit- ing and a story line that had me hooked from the start. Maybe it's just the period that Richie has so respectfully borrowed from, but I have the feeling it would be the kind of song that every serious musi-cian would love to play on. 'Alright Ok You Win' has Linda taking the lead vocals combining a freshness to this familiar standard with just enough slur in her voice to put you on the south side and once again the brass section delivered some dynamic alternat-ing punctuation trade offs. The first set ends with 'Proud Mary', which starts off deceptively slow before breaking into 1,2,3, and the familiar, raunchy speed of 'Low Rider', that has the girls coming out of the woodwork and on to the dance floor like snakes. The second half kicks off with Hawain Ska', and the dance floor is on heat auto-matic. 'Dressed To kill', 'Straight Ahead, No Stopping' keeps the dance floor buzzing with some nice swelling organ play by Dave Lennox. When Linda takes over the lead vocals with 'Lover Please' we witness the horn section simulating Wild West railroad train siren sounds, prompting screams of enthusiasm from some secret admirer somewhere in the room. In 'You Wanna Take A Mile' we're treated to some very authentic Stax reminiscences with key changes within the number and the old vocal talking numerical counts on the beats and nice organ stabs/swells from Dave. 'Wasn't That Love' follows and bassist Phil 'The Rock' Lucas plays some lovely Duck Dunn lines! 'Tip of My Tongue' features Linda Hall sounding incredibly like Brenda Lee accompanied by that lovely farty brass with those beautifully punc-tuated stops. This is a band that must be seen and as good as the CD is, it cannot create the sheer excitement of a live show with master players exercising their craft.

John Freebrey - Blues Matters - August 05

Review of the gig at the Spitz - John Taylor - Blues In Britain - May 2005

This was the launch party for the band's fourth album, Bluesique, it's first for Blake Powell's Note Records. Readers who missed out on the last few issues of this mag (back copies available from the usual address) may seed to know that singer-songwriter and guitarist Richie fronts a seven-piece band of quality players. Bassist Phil Lucas and saxophonist Steve King have been with Milton since the 1980s, while drummer Ed Spevock has joined since the album was recorded. The band specialise in good-time R&B, most of the material coming from their prolific leader with a variety of influences from the 1950s, 60s and early 70s.

As expected, there was a fair amount of new material aired over the two sets. Richie's first vocal of the night, "Had No Lovin" in reminiscent of Clarence 'Frogman' Henry's "Ain't Got No Home". "Nothing Can Stop Me" and the risqué "Get Naked"(no one obliged!) are also in the fifties r 'n' b style, while "Bluesique", sung by Richie and Linda Hall in unison/octaves, borrows from the jazz stylings of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. Linda's own features included "Tip Of My Tongue", which could have been a hit for LaVern Baker had it been written fifty years earlier.

All the numbers were kept short and sweet, although trumpeter Dick Hanson, Steve King and keyboard player Dave Lennox shone on their brief solos. The horn pairing's ensemble work in exemplary; at times they manage to sound like a larger section.

The dynamic, energetic dual vocalists are highly entertaining - good to watch an well an to listen to. Richie Milton and the Lowdown aim to entertain and get people on the dance floor and this they certainly did tonight. The high standard of musicianship and Milton's song-writing skills make this much more than than just a good party band though.

Jon Taylor - Blues in Britain

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